President Obama is saying a lot of the right things on Iran, and calls for him to wear a green tie, etc., are off the mark. But right now a big part of his message is, no matter what the regime does to the protesters, the administration is still willing to talk.
I cannot help but suspect that it might be helpful for some unnamed administration source to start making noises that Ahmadinejad and the regime are making any serious talks less likely, and a bloodier crackdown would make it impossible. They’ve got to hear the message that their ruthless actions are having consequences, and this is one of the few forms of incentive and deterrence we have.
I’m not the first to make this point, but it’s worth repeating. Not even considering a cancellation of the engagement policy sends a bad message: The administration will always offer a summit with the president, and he will shake any hand, no matter how much blood is on it.